Ancient Egyptian servant girl statuette

Contributed by Oriental Museum Durham

Ancient Egyptian statue of a servant girl carrying a jar © Oriental Museum, Durham University

Egyptians of both sexes used cosmetics. They made black and green eye make-up from kohl, soot and malachite.This beautifully carved wooden statue is actually a container for cosmetics. The pot the servant girl holds at her side would once have held make-up used by a member of the Ancient Egyptian elite. The statue was then placed in its owner's tomb so that it could continue to be useful in the after-life.

For many years Algernon Percy, 4th Duke of Northumberland, kept the statue in his collection of Ancient Egyptian objects at Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland, before it came to Durham with the rest of the collection after World War II.

To support the weight of the jar the girl has to thrust out her hip to one side. This creates a pose that breaks away from the usual conventions of Ancient Egyptian art in which people are portrayed in a much more formal style. It is this relaxed pose that has made her world famous today.

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  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 20:15 on 20 May 2010, bmb30537 wrote: must have belonged to someone wealthy not because of the material but because of the artistry.

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